What a let down...
Here was I all prepared to have a good laugh at some numpty somewhere and the punchline was...
...they meant to do it.
Undergraduate students in America managed to get control of the manoeuvring thrusters of an orbiting 2000-lb NASA satellite at the weekend, sending it plummeting into the Earth's atmosphere to rain burning fragments across the chilly seas north of Norway and Russia. "They ran calculations to determine where the spacecraft was …
"...sending it plummeting into the Earth's atmosphere to rain burning fragments across the chilly seas north of Norway and Russia".
Nowhere near the good ol' U S of A, then! If anyone is going to get hit by a supersonic burning fragment, it'll be a Norwegian or Russian.
As a thought experiment, imagine what might be said and done if a foreign nation were to dump one of its old satellites through US airspace into, say, the Gulf of Mexico.
"As a thought experiment, imagine what might be said and done if a foreign nation were to dump one of its old satellites through US airspace into, say, the Gulf of Mexico."
THe US would huff, and it would puff and it would...be completely ineffective at anything. I mean, really, what is the US going to do? Invade your country to steal your Oil? They seem to be remarkably ineffective at that. Lob a missile at you? Because countries that launch satellites don’t have the capability to make the US regret that one right quick.
What’s left? Economic sanctions? What economy? (BTW, those economic sanctions…they worked SO WELL against Cuba. My last vacation there was oh so burdened by the lack of ability to buy…actually, it was bloody awesome.) What /exactly/ is the US going to do to /anyone/ who has the economy or technological capability to launch spacecraft?
If they were REALLY DUMB they might shoot it down. Then they risk turning one dangerous falling object into many. I’m sorry, but if someone deorbited a satellite over US airspace into the ocean the US would be capable of doing exactly sweet **** all about it.
""Student operators provide a lower cost to NASA..."
Given the perilous state of the US economy, is there perhaps a suggestion for other US government agencies in this spokesmouth's PC pandering? Maybe one of the cadre of White House interns can finally take some action which will get their economy moving forward again. The paid professionals sure haven't been able to deliver any meaningful results.
Terrible idea. If a satellite designed to deorbit into the ocean gets hit by debris then you have one (or maybe a smallish number more than one) bits of uncontrollable junk in orbit. If a satellite designed to fragment into bits on contact with atmo gets hit by debris it will SHATTER, and you juve just created the orbital equivalent of a shotgun blast.
From a “how do we dispose of this satellite” standpoint, your idea is brilliant. From a “what happens if the unexpected occurs” standpoint, it’s a hazard.
The Arctic: Favorite bullseye for defunct satellites ?
I wonder what its remains looked like, when it was impacting the ice? Seriously, though, there could be some sort of an eXtreme nonsense TV potential in this, if only they knew...
Paris, because like mater is to antimatter, so is science to pop-nouveau celebrity.
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